They've signed up Johnson & Johnson as a charter sponsor, Comcast, will offer classic WB series via its video-on-demand service
Aug 7, 2008
TheWB.com, now in Beta testing, will launch on August 27, offering classic series that aired on the now defunct WB TV network along with new web series.
Warner Bros. Television Group is promoting the new site as “the next great network that won’t be televised.” But cable operator Comcast, will offer classic WB series via its video-on-demand service.
The WB.com has signed up Johnson & Johnson as a charter sponsor.
The online video network will offer classic WB series Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, Veronica Mars, Smallville, Gilmore Girls, Everwood, Roswell, The Wayans Bros., Friends and The OC, along with new series from show creators McG and Josh Schwartz. The McG series Sorority Fever will premiere on the site on Sept. 8. Schwartz is producer of the current CW show Gossip Girl.
As part of the rollout, The WB.com will feature an original application that will launch on Facebook Platform that will allow integration of Facebook’s social network onto The WB.com, and offer TheWB.com’s content on Facebook.
TheWB.com’s shows will also be distributed free across the Internet on Comcast’s Filmcast.com and Comcast will make available more than 1,000 TV episodes from Warner Bros. library that will be available on the cable operator’s video-on-demand service. AOL will also feature a WB.com branded channel that will stream full episodes of classic WB series.
In a statement, WBTVG said TheWB.com "affirms its new media business strategy to build new brands and programming destinations, create compelling original online content and to distribute that content on all platforms in ways that best serve consumers and advertisers.”
There have been undercurrents that WBTVG is starting The WB.com because executives at the company are not pleased that when The WB Network and UPN ceased to operate two years ago and merged, the WB brand, which was built up over more than a decade while the network was on the air, disappeared from site.
WBTVG president Bruce Rosenblum has denied it, but there are also rumors that the company is starting the Web site as a trial balloon, and if successful in drawing in its targeted 18-34 female audience in significant numbers, that the company might start a WB cable TV network.
Warner Bros. parent company, Time Warner, also owns Time Warner Cable, and the new WBTVG partnership with Comcast could mean an amicable relationship with that cable operator also, giving a WB network launch on cable a good base with two major cable operators.
Other original programming planned for TheWB.com includes Chadam, a 3D animation project from artist Alex Pardee and producer Jason Lee; a reality series from Gary Auerbach (Laguna Beach and Newport Harbor) about a girl from Orange County, Calif., who swaps lives with a low-income Los Angeles teen; and High Drama Against All Odds, an unscripted series from James Percelay which documents the production of a big-budget high school musical.
Original series include Blue Water High, an Australian surf drama; Dangerous, about a female government official who infiltrates a car-theft ring; and jPod, a soap opera set in the world of a video game design company.